A deposition is one of many tools available to litigants and their attorneys in a California personal injury lawsuit. It is one of the primary methods whereby parties are able to determine what information the opposing party and/or its witnesses have concerning the subject matter of the lawsuit. Despite the frequency with which depositions are conducted, many individuals and litigants can easily be confused about the purpose and manner in which they are conducted.
When are Depositions Conducted?
Depositions are conducted as part of the general discovery process. The discovery process typically begins after your lawsuit has been filed, any response from the defendant has been received, and any initial dispositional motions have been heard and determined. In many situations, depositions are conducted near the end of the discovery process and after the attorneys involved have had the opportunity to review documents, reports, and expert opinions relevant to the subject matter of the dispute.
Can I, as a Personal Injury Plaintiff, be Deposed?
You not only can be deposed, you probably will be deposed by the opposing party’s attorney or legal team. A deposition is an opportunity for attorneys and parties to compel the opposing party to answer questions under oath. These answers can then be used to argue a motion for summary judgment or at trial to impeach you if you change your answers (for example). Because personal injury lawsuits are civil in nature, you generally do not have the right to refuse to answer questions or show up for a deposition.
If your answer to a question would tend to implicate you in criminal activity (i.e., an insurance fraud scheme), you may have the right to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer. Otherwise, you will be expected to answer all of the questions asked of you truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.
Are There Limitations on How Depositions are Conducted?
Yes, although they are limited in nature. In most cases, your attorney only has limited grounds upon which to object to questions posed to you and/or badgering or unprofessional behavior by the attorney asking you questions. You may not be deposed for hours upon hours, especially without any break or opportunity to eat or use the restroom (it is a deposition, not an interrogation). You also will usually have the opportunity to look at a written transcript of your deposition and make corrections or supplements, if needed.
How Does Case Barnett Law Help Me?
If you are injured in a personal injury accident, Case Barnett Law will help you file your lawsuit and guide you through the discovery process. When you are deposed, we will help prepare you ahead of time and will be with you during the deposition to help protect your rights. Our goal is to remove as much uncertainty and fear from the civil recovery process as possible. Contact Case Barnett Law and discuss your case and the recovery process with us today: Dial (949) 861-2990 or contact us through our website.